Disney holds special one-day celebration of Manatees today!

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Manatee (credit: The Walt Disney Company)

Manatee (credit: The Walt Disney Company)

Disney News: Epcot Celebrates International Manatee Day on September 7, 2012

If you’re in Epcot today, make sure you stop by the Seas with Nemo and Friends to pay tribute to Florida’s gentle sea creature on International Manatee Day.

Seas with Nemo & Friends

More than just a gentle underwater ride in a “clamobile”, The Seas with Nemo & Friends is a licensed rehabilitation site for injured or orphaned manatees and sea turtles that have been rescued. They are cared for at Disney until they they are cleared from “intensive care”, are back to their normal diet and can be returned to their natural habitats. Right now, a team of Disney marine mammal experts is caring for Lou and Vail, two injured manatees. Both were struck by watercraft in separate incidents – this is one of the major threats to the species. The Seas participates with conservation groups, other zoological facilities and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in a Manatee Rehabilitation Partnership.

Manatees are an Endangered Species

Manatees are only found in a few spots in the world and Florida is one of them. There are only 5,000 manatees in the state, and they are an endangered species, protected under the Federal Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act as well as the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act. They are sirenians, an aquatic, plant-eating mammals, also found in Africa, South America, Africa, and Australia. Recycling plastic bottles and used fishing line is one way that everyone can work toward protecting manatees.

Disney’s Animal Programs

While Disney’s Animal Programs takes care of all the thousands of animals at Walt Disney World, which includes 33 endangered and threatened species. While taking care of Disney’s own wildlife, the Animal Programs is a licensed wildlife rehabilitation center, and is involved annually in rescue and rehabilitation efforts. Each year, over 1,000 injured or orphaned wild animals call Disney their temporary home.

Tell us…

Have you ever seen a manatee?